Still Life by Louise Penny
I had never read anything by Canadian author, Louise Penny, and as we share a surname, I decided I should do so. Still Life is her first novel featuring her recurring character Arnaud Gamache, so it seemed as good a place to start as any. The novel was published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks on 1 January 2005 and later went on to win the Anthony Award for Best First Novel in 2007. Nevertheless, I found it difficult to get into and nearly put it aside, but I am glad I persevered.
The novel starts when a body is found in the woods around the village of Three Pines, south of Montreal. It transpires to be the body of Jane Neal, a long-term and much loved member of the Three Pines community. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of the suspicious death. His investigation must discover whether Jane’s death is an accident or something much more sinister.
I found the character of the young female assistant, Nichol very irritating and did not feel she added much to the advancement of the story. The pace at the beginning of the book was extremely slow, for no apparent reason, although it did improve as the novel progressed. Still Life is an award-winning first novel where Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache. I would be willing to read another book in this series.